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As detailed in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, state courts have begun embracing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, striking down part of a federal law that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and even building on that ruling in challenges over state laws concerning same-sex marriage and other issues affecting gays and lesbians.

“It’s a pattern that’s emerging—and it’s striking,” said David Cruz, a law professor at the University of Southern California and an expert on civil-rights law. Rather than finding ways around Windsor, he said, “judges are embracing its principles.

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The effect of Windsor could grow significantly in months to come, say legal experts. More than a dozen challenges to same-sex-marriage laws are pending, nine of which were filed post-Windsor, according to Jon Davidson, the legal director at Lambda Legal, which advocates on behalf of same-sex couples seeking the right to marry.

That includes a challenge in North Carolina which began as a lawsuit concerning the state’s adoption laws as applied to gay couples but has since expanded, with the consent of Attorney General Roy Cooper, to include a challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

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In a statement released this morning,  the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) announced that they would challenge the state’s ban on same sex marriage by amending a federal lawsuit pending here concerning a ban on second parent adoptions.

The move comes on the same day as similar challenges were announced in Pennsylvania and Virginia and just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in  United States v. Windsor, in which the court found that the federal Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as between one man and one woman was unconstitutional.

As stated in the announcement :

The ACLU is asking North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to agree to allow an additional claim challenging the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples to be added to Fisher-Borne v. Smith, a lawsuit filed last year in Greensboro in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina that challenges the state’s ban on second parent adoption, a process by which one partner in an unmarried gay or straight couple adopts the other partner’s biological or adoptive child. If the Attorney General’s office does not agree to the addition of the new claim, the ACLU will petition the court to allow the claim to be added.

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(This story was written by our friend Greg Flynn and initially posted at Blue NC)

International Christian relief and evangelism charity organization Samaritan’s Purse run by Franklin Graham contributed $150,200 towards newspaper and TV advertising in support of the NC Marriage Amendment, according to an Independent Expenditure report filed with the NC State Board of Elections.

A total of $272,593.70 was reported spent by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on full page ads in NC newspapers featuring the image of Billy Graham and words attributed to him and, on TV ads with similar content all with the legend “Paid for by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association”. $190,200 was reported as contributions from other persons or entities leaving $82,393.70 as the assumed direct contribution of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Of the $190,200 contributed by others $150,200 came from Samaritan’s Purse based in Boone, NC. $20,000 came from Mark DeMoss of Duluth, GA, and another $20,000 came from Dick Furman of Boone, NC. Mark DeMoss is an evangelical who runs a Christian PR agency and serves as an advisor to Mitt Romney. Dick Furman is a doctor who founded World Medical Mission which is part of the Samaritan’s Purse organization, on whose board he sits.

In soliciting donations on its website Samaritan’s Purse states: Read More

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I’m sad to report that that the haters and crackpots masquerading as “people of God” continue to emerge from the woodwork in North Carolina. The following (including the video below) comes from our friends at Think Progress

North Carolina Pastor Charles Worley shared with his congregation this weekend how he thinks the country should deal with the scourge of gay men and lesbians: Lock them into a pen with an electrified fence, drop food down to them, and because they can’t reproduce, they will die out. Read More

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Governor Perdue may have ruffled some feathers in the Magnolia State with her comments last Friday about Amendment One and Mississippi, but her remarks were on the money. As I noted in this interview with ABC 11. the sentiment she expressed makes perfect sense.

Think about it; If one of your main jobs was selling North Carolina to businesspeople from all over the nation and the world, you too would feel embarrassed by having to explain such nonsense. Imagine yourself in a meeting with Tim Cook, the head of Apple Computers and a gay man or, perhaps some prominent film industry exec: How the heck to you put a smiling face on such a hateful and backward-looking change?

Of course,  one could simply defer to the wisdom of the amendment’s chief sponsor, House Majority Leader Paul Stam. He said that passage of the amendment “is only backwards if you think that forward is a good thing”